Where does adaptability fit in for businesses during Covid-19?

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By Paul Williamson

The coronavirus pandemic has had an unforeseen effect on industries across Europe, pushing many businesses back to the starting line after being drained of cash as a result of Covid-19 financial pressures. The flipside of the pandemic is that a handful of industries which have felt the brunt have developed resilience and adaptability to survive turbulent trading conditions. By fighting forward and findings routes to break through the Covid-19 marketing chatter and preserve your relationship with customers, key industries are standing out by adapting to the challenge.

Hitting restart on the housing market

Business owners across Europe have experienced a lull in new properties entering the market, limiting the range of finance options available due to financial uncertainty. As estate agents were forced to close their doors due to strict lockdown restrictions, the industry quickly adapted to offer virtual viewings and valuations to serve the needs of house buyers.

Data released by Oxford Economics found that house prices fell by a quarter in all major European economies in the three months to June during the peak of the coronavirus lockdown. As house values took a tumble, access to finance was made harder for buyers, specifically for those on the hunt for 90 per cent loan-to-value mortgage products. This opened up the market to serious house buyers with substantially sized deposits, increasing competition and reawakening prospective sellers.

In July 2020, the UK government announced a stamp duty holiday for houses up to £500,000 in England and Wales until March 2021 to boost the housing market after the six weeks shut down. This is an example of state support to help restart the housing sector and attract new buyers. In other countries such as Germany, the housing market continued to boom with minimal disruption during the coronavirus lockdown.

Facilitating a quick business sale

Businesses facing the force of the coronavirus pandemic may be looking to unload businesses which they suspect will fail in its current state without the vested interest of a new business owner. If this is the only route forward as the business requires fresh capital, this is an ideal time for prospective buyers to shop around and negotiate a competitive price. Business sellers marketing their business may be interested in generating a quick sale over achieving the highest bid to reduce the likelihood of the business developing into a liability during Covid-19.

Rigorously testing adaptability

The pandemic has forced industries to adapt to lockdown restrictions by expanding the use of technology to continue the delivery of services effectively and to increase market share. By enhancing accessibility for your customer base during the pandemic, this can help you reduce the likelihood of disconnecting with shoppers during this unprecedented period. The ease of incorporating existing technology, rather than establishing a platform from the ground up into your service means you can continue operations without any disruption.

The food and hospitality industry has quickly adjusted to partnering with the likes of Deliveroo and Uber Eats to expand their dining in service to offer take-out to comply with lockdown rules. This has helped make up for a fraction of lost income and maintain the delivery of services, albeit rather limited.

Home improvement, homeware and renovation industry

As members of the public, excluding keyworkers, were forced to stay at home as a result of the coronavirus induced lockdown, and working from home continues to be the preferred route, this has triggered a rise in home improvement projects and home renovations. Due to restricted access to second homes and advice against air travel, people are restoring their homes and increasing consumer demand for the related industry.

Embarking on DIY projects, such as redecorating, rebuilding and planning a house expansion is among the many tasks house owners are undertaking, making up for the gap in custom during the Covid-19 shutdown. As an additional boost to the housing market following its reopening, the demand for raw building materials has been unprecedented.

Education sector supercharge IT infrastructure

The pre-school, primary and higher education sectors have suffered from sudden closure and phased openings to comply with lockdown measures. Under intense time pressure, schools were forced to produce educational resources for students to use at home and flip any remaining curriculum learning to suit virtual delivery. By redirecting investment to IT infrastructure and the production of virtually compatible tools, educational organisations have been forced to fast track modernisation strategies and work ahead of plans to invest in IT and digital platforms. By promoting versatility and increasing access to education, the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic has been minimal.

As the economy recovers from the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic, selected industries which have fast adapted are finding innovative ways to overcome the trading crisis. Fuelled by technological solutions, adaptive workforces and reactive business owners, industries are beginning to adapt to the pandemic and state support is geared to promote the restart of the economy and keep workers in jobs.

About the Author

Paul Williamson is Managing Director at Selling My Business, part of Ernest Wilson, UK’s leading business transfer agents. He is part of the property valuation team and is instrumental in the sale negotiation process of commercial property.

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